Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Writing a Novel vs. a Play - A Writing Journal

Taking a step away from the monster task that my novel was, I decided to take on a new project. I'd had this idea for a play for a little while and I couldn't get it out of my head. Adjusting from novel writing to play writing was a very interesting process. There are more than few things I'll take out of that experience.

As previously stated by Everly Brooks in her segment, "Why You Should Mix It Up - A Writing Journal", every writer needs to take a step out of their writing niche. I had never ventured out of my comfort zone, so I decided to take this advice to heart with my new idea. However I had no idea just how much of an adjustment it was until I sat down at my laptop and started writing.

First of all, when writing a script, there's dialogue and then description in parentheses. Depending on how tight your vision is you may put in some stage directions, but that's about it. You have to imagine everything. I had to think of how the stage would be set, what kind of set pieces would onstage and how they would move in order for me to be able to write the scene.

Then another thought struck me very much when writing. The script is just the skeleton. The performance is the finished product. In contrast, a book is a book and that's where it it ends. With a script, you may write a character a certain way, but ultimately, it's up to the director (and the actors) to decide how the play will appear. You need to be okay with that.

Furthermore, another noted difference, took me a while to learn. There is no such thing as subtlety in theater. Not in the writing anyway. Now, that doesn't mean you need to spell everything out for your audience, because they aren't stupid. They'll be able to figure it out. However, you have to keep in mind that whatever your character does, says, or acts, needs to be seen forty rows back. That's a very different audience than someone holding a book in their hand.

Ever had an abrupt adjustment when changing mediums? What were your struggles? Leave us a comment below and continue the conversation! 

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